Current Edition

Medicines that Don’t Cost the Earth:

New Awards Showcase Innovations

“We know that climate change is bad for our health. What is less well known is that healthcare is bad for the environment,” said Nazneen Rahman while chairing a panel discussion showcasing innovations in sustainable packaging. The session was held on 14 September in Geneva at Connect in Pharma, a new annual event connecting innovators in pharma and biopharma to the world’s leading suppliers and manufacturers.

Rahman, a physician, scientist, and AstraZeneca Non-Executive Director, said she had this epiphany two years ago and was compelled to devote the next phase of her working life to making healthcare more sustainable. Rahman went on to found sustainable healthcare pioneer YewMaker. Through YewMaker, Rahman started the Sustainable Medicines Partnership, a not-for-profit organisation that describes itself as a “public-private, multi-stakeholder global action collaborative”. To date, the partnership counts 42 organisations within its membership, including AstraZeneca, Walgreens, Pfizer, and Deloitte. She was in Geneva at Connect in Pharma to not only chair the sustainable packaging panel presentation but to announce the winners of the Sustainable Medicines Packaging Awards, an initiative launched by YewMaker, with the award ceremony hosted at the first edition of Connect in Pharma.

Rahman says Connect in Pharma was a natural fit to launch the Sustainable Medicines Packaging Awards: “Collaboration and innovation are essential to delivering the changes needed to make sustainability core to how pharmaceutical packaging is designed and used. The audience of our awards marries perfectly with the audience of this new conference, which is all about bringing together innovators involved in the pharmaceutical supply chain. The partnership helped us bring a sharper focus on sustainability innovations in the sector.” The awards focussed on innovations in two categories: the first category recognised sustainable packaging design, and the second looked to reward companies that had developed processes that brought greater circularity into the pharmaceutical supply chain.


Design Award

The Design Award showcases innovations in sustainable packaging design. For medicine and medical device packaging to help reduce waste and increase sustainability, a pharma company might change to alternative materials that can be recycled or change the size or shape of packaging so that fewer natural resources are used. Design innovations may involve materials, constituents, size, or shape of medicine or medical device packaging to reduce waste and increase sustainability.

GOLD – Phill Box – Parcel Health

Phill Box is a recyclable and compostable alternative to plastic pill bottles. It has a 30% smaller carbon footprint, is water-resistant, and is light-proof.

SILVER – Protecting the Product and the Environment – Essentra Packaging

Essentra is producing a new carton-board package that replaces the need for plastic equivalents. Working with a pharmaceutical company that specialises in allergy diagnostics, they created a carton board option that eliminated 1.67 tons of plastic every year in the transportation vials for diagnosis to doctors.

Joint BRONZE – Dual Chamber Blister – Pantec AG/Pharmapan

The new Dual Chamber Blister device includes two high-barrier chambers, the first filled with a mixing agent and the second with the drug formulation. With a simple finger compression, the ingredients are safely mixed and applied or injected. The design saves materials due to its lean structure compared to the classical vial/syringe solution, and its lower weight reduces shipping and energy costs.

Joint BRONZE – Qube Pro – Jones Healthcare Group

The Qube Pro multi-medication system is an automated sealing system for machine-filling trays that uses eco-friendly, foil-free backing. A smaller overall size means lower shipping costs and less waste.